Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I’m not usually a big fan of cold appetizers or soups, but once I tasted these cold spring rolls in a new Thai restaurant, I instantly became a fan. So I invited my fellow foodie, Phung Li, to try this recipe with me. This recipe originally came from Chow.com’s Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce.  I modified it to be Vegan/Vegetarian friendly by switching the shrimp to tofu, so you’re still getting plenty of protein.

With summer coming, these are sure to be a major hit at summer cook outs. This dish would go especially well with my delicious Yellow Thai Curry recipe, so be sure to check that out.

Most of the ingredients are available in the Asian aisle of the grocery store.

Vegan

Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 8 rolls

Peanut sauce

The peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce (Whisk  all ingredients together and set aside)

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 Tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp chili garlic paste (with rooster picture)
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts

_________________________________________________________

INGREDIENTS: Spring Rolls

  • 1 packet extra firm tofu
  • 1 packet 8 round rice paper wrappers. They are clear by nature. (I have used Red Rose brand)
  • Rice noodles
  • 16 pieces of basil
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 8 leaves of bibb lettuce, cut into halves
  • Fresh scallions cut cross wise
  • Garden English seedless cucumber
  • Serrano or jalapeno chilis (cored, seeded, and thinly sliced) – optional

PREPARATION:

1. To store the wrapper, place a wet paper towel or wet cheese cloth at the base. Then cover with saran wrap so it does not dry out.

2. Drain tofu. Cut into cubes. In a wok, lightly season with soy and ginger paste. Set aside.

Tofu cubes

Seasoning the tofu

 

3. Clear an area on a cutting board or flat surface to roll spring rolls.

4. Wet the rice paper and lay flat on a cutting board.

5. On top of the rice paper, layer a half lettuce leaf, mint, basil, sprouts, tofu, cucumber, and chili. End with a second half leaf of lettuce.

Spring roll filling

Ready to roll!

6. Try to roll on one side. Fold in sides.

Wrapping Spring Rolls

Wrapping up the spring rolls

6. Roll in a way so it is firmly tucked in and shows green lettuce on the top.

Finished spring roll

Ta da! This is what your finished roll should look like.

 

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Healthy Vegan Puda/Pancakes

Healthy Vegan Pancake

Healthy Vegan Pancake

Vegan Vegetable Pancake

This recipe is a quick fix for my lunch and daily portion of protein.

Recently  I joined a LEAF program  in our community. I was very impressed with volunteers and their effort to help other people  to live healthy lifestyle by watching their food habits. They highly recommend vegan recipes.

Hence I was motivated to come up with my  vegan version of Beans- dals pancake which are fulfilling, refreshing, and tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup moong dal
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1/2 cup channa dal or besan
  • 1/2 cup matepa split beans
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small ginger
  • 1 small chili pepper
  • 1 cup frozen spinach/kale
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3 tbsp oil (to make crispy)

How to make vegetable pancake

1. Generously wash the rice, moomg dal, lentils, channa dal, and matepa split beans. Check for  stones in dals. Soak almost 4 hours in warm water in a deep bowl.

2. Grind  coarse all the soaked dals and spinach, onion,  chili pepper, garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Add salt, turmeric. Set aside. The consistency of the batter should be like pancake batter.

vegetable pancake batter

3. Drizzle a teaspoon of the oil into a medium size nonstick skillet heat over a medium heat. Halfway through (almost after 45 seconds), pour in a ladleful of batter and quickly spread it evenly so it is

about 6 inches in diameter. Caution should be taken not to overheat skillet.

puda on skillet

4. Let the pancake cook for 2-3 minutes till it turns opaque and loses its glossy looks. Turn the pancake over and cook the second side till it turns into golden brown color (usually about a minute).

5. Repeat steps 3-4 to make more pancakes. Serve warm with sweet and spicy sauces. Puda tastes great with cilantro and tamarin chutney.

Tips:

  •  Most popular variation is besan (chickpea flour) puda with onion, tomatoes, and chilis. Just whisk flour, add seasoning and spices and batter is ready.
  • Times to time for variation I add shredded cabbage ,carrots, zucchini or any other vegetable that you like.
  • Bob’s Red Mill makes a chickpea flour that is readily available in supermarkets, which saves hassle of soaking dals.
  • If you do not use all the batter, you can refrigerate it up to three days.
  • If you have made all the pancakes, you can reheat  them in the microwave, wrapped in slightly damp paper towels, for 30 seconds.

 

Cabbage/Carrot Puda

Cabbage/Carrot Puda

Chickpea Flour Puda

Chickpea Flour Puda

 

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How To Make Traditional Sweet Boondi

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Sweet Boondi

Traditional  Sweet Dish Boondi

Boondi  has a special imprint on each of  us, especially the immigrants from  India. This dessert is present at all the famous celebrations.

 

Boondi reminds me of our pilgrimage site in Palitana, India. After we returned from a three hour hike on a mountain (we are not supposed to eat while hiking), we were served  warm Boondi and Sev (crispy noodles ).  Needless to say, it was an amazingly tasty treat!  Today I am going to try to replicate that authentic taste. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe, Jaya! 

Palitana Mountain

Palitana Mountain

Step by step guide to Make Boondi : Serves 6

Vegan, Gluten free, Jain

Ingredients

  • 2 cup besan /chick pea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cup vegetable shortening or ghee for frying
  • 1/2 cup cashews or slivered almond
  • 1/2 cup raisins

For syrup

  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • yellow food color optional
  • Few strands of saffron
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Utensils needed

  • Perforated sieve
  • Deep spoon
  • Frying Pan
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Ingredients for Boondi

For Boondi, a deep spoon and perforated sieve are needed.

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Sieve and deep spoon

How to Make Boondi

1. Combine besan/chick pea flour and water as needed in a bowl. Beat for two to three minutes until the batter becomes light and smooth.

2. Heat ghee or vegetable shortening in a deep frying pan. Hold a sieve four inch above the oil. With the deep spoon, pour the batter into the strainer. The batter will fall into the oil in the form fine drops of boondi. Fry for one minutes until the boondi turns golden brown. Repeat the steps with remaining batter.

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Frying boondi

3. In a pan add sugar , water, a few strands of saffron, cardamom powder, cashews, and raisins.

4. Cook for five minutes until sugar dissolves  and becomes a thick syrup.

5. Add boondi to the pan and keep stirring until it cools down.

6. Garnish and serve. YUM!

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Sweet Boondi

Bonus Tips:

  • Green and red color can be added to batter to make the pearls of boondi more decorative and presentable.
  • For salty variations, instead of syrup, sprinkle it with salt or red chili powder. Instead of cashews, spanish peanuts can be used.

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3 Step Homemade Soy Yogurt

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Organic Soy Yogurt

 

Homemade Soy Yogurt

My friend Debbie is a huge believer in plant-based foods. As a Vegan, she was missing probiotics in her diet.  When she found out about my blog she requested I make Pure soy yogurt at home. Supermarkets have many flavors, but add sugar to their soy yogurt, so for optimum healthiness, you should make it at home.

What You Need

2 cup  Organic unsweetened soy milk

1 count store bought organic soy yogurt plain( Whole Soy & Co)

1 Heavy pot or glass microwave container

whisk

 

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Three Easy Steps to Make yogurt:

1. Boil the milk either on the stove or in a microwave.

2. Let it cool down enough that that you can hold your finger in the milk for twenty seconds.

3. Add two heaping spoonfuls of soy yogurt to boiled milk.  Whisk evenly so yogurt mixes properly. Pour into individual jar with tight lid.

4. Let it sit undisturbed in regular oven with lights on for six to eight hours.

5. Once it sets, refrigerate for a few hours to make it firm.

Enjoy with fresh fruit.

How To Make Lemon Pickle

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One of the most popular achars (pickles) is a lemon pickle.

I have seen my mom make various achars/pickles and enjoyed them heartedly when I was young. Recently I learned that lemons are highly alkaline and good for digestion. So my taste buds prompted me to try this tantalizing recipe for myself. The traditional flavor is back in a new form!

To make it healthier, I’ve reduced the salt, sugar, and oil . I am sure you will love it too.

Ingredients:

  • 5 lemon cut into cubes
  • 5 lemon squeezed into juice
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp cumin & fenugreek seeds (roasted and crushed)
  • 1 tsp sugar (or more to taste)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric

For Tampering:

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of astofedia

How to make:

1. Cut the lemons into cubes. Set aside.Cut Lemons

 

2. Store lemon cubes. Add salt and turmeric. Shake it properly  so it is coated with salt evenly.

store in a jar

store in a jar

 

 

3. Store and stir evenly so lemon pieces starts to get soften and tender to touch. Repeat this step for fifteen days.

4. Take lemon pieces out in a bowl , add spices, add sugar, and temper with oil. Mix them properly and store in a clean air tight container.

Lemon pickle is ready to serve with your meals. Great news about lemon pickle is that as it ages it is more tasty. Enjoy!

Lemon pickle/achar

Lemon pickle/achar

How To Make Smoky Split Chickpea/Chana Dal

Chana dal is also known as bengal gram dal. Dals are the staples in Indian meals. It is very inexpensive and easy to cook once you get the hands on.

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Split chick pea dal

Dals is a easy way of infusing proteins, fiber and body building nutrients in vegetarian/vegan diets.

Cooking time 40 minutes   Easy Vegan  Gluten Free  Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup split chickpea/chana dal
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 pc dried red chilies/cayenne
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp oil/ghee optional
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  •  How to prepare:

1. Place the split chickpea in medium size sauce pan. Wash them thoroughly  3 or 4 times till water runs clear.  Add 4 cup water to the pan and let it boil over medium high heat. Scoop out and discard any foam as the peas come to a boil.

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Discard foam on top

2. Let the dal cook for 20 minutes  till it is tender to touch. Add salt.

3. Heat a skillet over a medium high heat. Add oil to the skillet. Add red chilies, coriander and cumin. Toast the spices shaking the skillet every few seconds, until the chilies are blacken and smell smoky hot and the seeds turn reddish brown and smell incredibly aromatic for 1 to 2 minutes.

 

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Roast spices

4. Transfer the spice mixture to a blender add tomato. Make it a puree to a smooth brown paste

IMG_447889780

5. Add the tomato and spice mixture to the cooked peas. Increase the heat to medium high heat and let dal boil vigorously uncovered, stirring occasionally until the smoky flavors mingle and sauce thickens . It can take up to 10 minutes or more.

6. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve with roti or rice it equally taste good.

Split chick peas can be cooked in different ways. Some of the varieties include split chick pea with coconut chutney , Healthy vegan puda/pancakes , Khandvi dahiwadi chick pea flour rolls to name a few.

Tips:

The yellow split peas that are available here is different from the ones in India. The ones in India are from a variety of garbanzo beans that have a dark brown skin. When a skin is removed and the grain split in half is called split chickpea chana dal.

I usually try to soak before cooking at least for an hour or two. So it speeds up the process while cooking.

It is Yummm and honestly healthy!

Enjoy!

How To Make Split Mung Dal Spicy – Tadka Dal

Indian legumes/lentils are best source of plant protein for vegans/vegetarians.  This staple dish from India is easy to make with little planning.

It is not only satisfying but heart healthy and very low in glycemic index. I am sure you will enjoy this recipe as I do.

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Split Mung dal Tadka

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup split mung Dal
  • 3 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp hing asafetida
  • 2 tbsp  canola oil or ghee/unsalted butter
  • 1 medium tomato chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 chili seeded /diced
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 small piece of ginger crushed/chopped
  • Few curry leaves optional
  • Few red whole chili
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • chopped cilantro to garnish

How to prepare:

1. Wash Dal thoroughly three or four times till the water, upon rinsing the dal remains clear. Soak the Dal for an hour.
2. Add water to the Dal and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and let it cook
for 10-15 minutes.
3. In a separate pan heat the oil over medium high heat. Add cumin seeds, add onion and garlic,tomatoes and all the spices.
4. Saute it for couple of  minutes s. Add salt and lemon juice. Let it cook for another 4-5 minutes until the flavors mingle and sauce thickens.
Garnish it with cilantro. Enjoy dal over the a bed of steamed rice. Dals can be great as a soup with a wedges of  flat bread.

Tips:

Dal is sometimes made with whole beans or lentils, or dried peas  popularly known as legumes.  The texture  of dal can be adjusted to your preference, and made quite thin and soupy or very thick like almost pate’  spread.

Basic spices makes any lentil and legumes taste it very good. It provides nutrition quick fix , easy to make and
plus it provides complex carbohydrates. Enjoy! Feel free to let me know How Your dal turnout!

Silken Tofu pudding

 

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Silken Tofu Pudding

I love my Indian rice pudding which is made with cow’s milk. I was in impression that pudding without the cow’s milk will be no pudding at all.

To my surprise  when my friend Debbie served  me with silken tofu pudding I could not believe that it is vegan pudding! It is extremely simple to make.

Prep time :10 minutes        Serves :3      Very easy     Vegan    Gluten Free

Ingredients:

  • 1 Block firm or extra firm silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar /Agave nectar/maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp of turmeric for color
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries

How to prepare:

1. Drain the water from tofu.

2. Blend in food processor silken tofu, lemon juice, sugar and turmeric till smooth. Serve in individual dishes and chill in refrigerator for two hours.

3. Garnish with berries.

Is this real ? Velvety smooth taste of pudding? Try it and Let me know in your comments!

Split Chick Pea With Coconut Chutney

Split Chick pea with coconut chutney

Originally this recipe is from south India. This chutney is popular with dosa, idli and mendu vada and many more dishes. In South India  where coconut is very easily available and very refreshing to taste.

I am huge fan of this special chutney because it incorporates fiber, nutrition and protein. It has all the key ingredients to make this perfect healthy recipe!

 Prep time : 15 minutes       Serves :4         Very easy    Vegan,  Gluten free

Ingredients:

1/2 cup channa dal or ready roasted channa dal /Dalia
1 cup grated coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1 fresh piece ginger
1 fresh chili
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 small bunch cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

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split chickpea/coconut chutney

  • For tempering;
  • 1/2 tsp. udad dal
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. oil for garnish
  • Red whole chili optional
  • Few curry leaves

How to make:

1.Roast dal over medium heat for about 4 minutes till golden brown. Add 2 cup water. Soak for 2 hours.

IMG_433961938 (3)

Roasting channa dal

2. Mix the entire ingredient in a blender. Add water if needed. Blend it for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer into a bowl.

 For Tempering:

  1.  Heat the oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and urad dal in hot oil. It will start to pop up. Add chili and curry leaves.(optional)
  2. Garnish the mixture with hot oil.
  3. Enjoy with your dosa and Idli!
  4. How do you like the taste? Let me know in your comments!

Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup

I love tomato soup specially when it is cold outside. This soup is the most basic and comfort food for me all the time.

Unfortunately most soup are made with heavy cream and oil. Here I am sharing this recipe which is vegan and heart healthy for sure.

Prep time 20 minutes:   Four serving:   Very easy vegan

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium tomatoes
  • 1 Small onion
  • 1 Small potato
  • 2 Carrots
  • ¼ Slice of cabbage
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Small piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. oat
  • Crushed black pepper for garnish

For tempering:

  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • ¼ tsp. asafetida
  • Chopped cilantro leaves
  • Few curry leaves optional

How to prepare:

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-duty blender like Vita Mix so it blends evenly. No need to strain. By blending it evenly it keeps the fiber and nutrients intake.
  2. Pour the liquid in a medium pot. Heat the soup for ten minutes till it bubbles and simmer for 5 minutes on a low heat.
  3.  For Tempering:
  4. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add cumin seeds; once it sizzles add curry leaves and asafetida. Garnish with oil and cilantro leaves. Enjoy it with your favorite sandwich!